In the ongoing quest for the "perfect body," women have turned to a new--actually make that very, very old--mode of transformation: corsetry
According to the New York Times, girdles--or fajas as they're called in Spanish--have been making a comeback in Latino communities in New York, particularly in Queens, for the past five years.
“There is a Spanish saying, you want to look ‘like a Coke bottle,’” Lilliana Rios, 33, of ThingsLatinosLoveorHate.com, told the paper. And that's precisely what women are going for when they squeeze themselves into a faja, which the NYT says are so tight they "can force the air out of your lungs," and cause organ-shifting. They come in all sorts of iterations from waist cinching girdles to full body suits, and range in price from $20 to over $70, depending on fabric.
“The first day you can’t stand it,” Blanca Murillo, a hairdresser and avid faja proponent, said. “But then it loosens it up.” Apparently, Murillo wears hers every day. Ouch. I can barely stand to pull on skinny jeans some days. Why are people wearing these things again?
It's a bit baffling, considering the discomfort and women's lib and all, but apparently demand for these torture chambers is only growing. One Colombian manufacturer, Colfajas, had to raise their production by 47 percent last year, exporting 60,000 items--thousands more than they had in previous years--to meet orders. Another vendor, Y & K, a small clothing and lingerie shop in Queens, says they regularly sell out of the 4,000 fajas they carries each year.
Blame Spanx. “Fajas to me were something my mother would wear,” Rios, the blogger, said. "Now Spanx came along and you see Eva Longoria wearing it, Jennifer Lopez wearing it. Now it’s at a comfort level that women at any size and any age are wearing them."
Obviously it's a bit sad that in 2012, women still feel the need to suffer on a daily basis to meet some unattainable beauty ideal. It feels like there's a new "rule" made up about how we're supposed to look almost every day--and pressure to meet those standards can be unbearable. But mostly, it's just unfair.
On the other hand, perhaps for many women wearing a girdle is a less extreme, safer, and cheaper alternative to getting liposuction. If it makes them feel better about themselves, and they want to wear it every day, or perhaps just on special occasions, then power to them.
What say you? Would you ever wear a faja?